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Greens In Black
was the dress choice for Sue Kedgley, Sue Bradford and Metiria Turei, the Green Party women MPs, on 24 February. They wore black in Parliament in solidarity with global Greens, to mark the second anniversary of Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt’s kidnapping by FARC guerrillas.
Greens from around the world were expressing sorrow and anger that Ms Betancourt and her vice-presidential running mate Clara Rojas are still held hostage by FARC, and are now entering their third year in captivity.
Sue Kedgley said “We call on the government to join us in expressing, in no uncertain terms, its dismay at the Colombian government for not resolving this terrible situation.”
New Minister Can Right New Wrongs
said Keith Locke on 22 February, calling on the incoming Immigration Minister to take a fresh look at the country’s two most contentious refugee cases.
“New Zealanders have quite rightly been outraged at the lack of sympathy, understanding and common justice exhibited in the treatment of the Sri Lankan girl and Ahmed Zaoui,” Keith said. “It is up to the new minister to move quickly to correct past injustices and prove to the New Zealand public and the world that compassion is not incompatible with good government.”
King Hit On Zaoui Turns Out To Be A Damp Squib
and strengthens the case for releasing him, says Keith Locke.
Mr Zaoui’s lawyers released a summary of the intelligence service’s allegations against him on 20 February, and in Keith’s view the SIS was just repeating slander.
“The Refugee Status Appeals Authority (RSSA) so thoroughly discredited the court cases against Mr Zaoui in Belgium and France that it is incomprehensible that the SIS would have some secret information that would make those convictions sound. Again, why couldn’t any information the SIS had on these cases have been provided to the RSSA in confidence?
“Statements that Mr Zaoui’s presence would confirm New Zealand’s status as a ‘soft touch’ reinforce our fears that diplomatic interests are being put ahead of human rights. The government seems unwilling to embarrass authorities in France, Belgium and Switzerland by accepting a person unjustly framed in those countries.”
Global Day Of Anti-War Action – Saturday March 20
. One year after the invasion of Iraq by US-led forces, there will be a global day of protest action. You can read about what is already planned for Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch at
PMA’s March 20 website
– and add new events. You can also download a poster of Bush and Clark as military mates.
Pre-Meditated Pre-Emptive World Domination
. Two new books (one just released this month, the other next month) document how the Bush administration (in its current form and in its previous and parallel incarnations, such as the neo-conservative thinktank Project for a New American Century) systematically planned for both for the invasion of Iraq in particular, and the militarisation of US foreign policy in general. Excerpts from a Guardian article and a Foreign Policy in Focus commentary, below, show the extent of the problem, and where to go for more information.
Bush ‘Wanted War In 2002’
. The Guardian Washington correspondent Julian Borger wrote on February 24 (full article at
The Guardian site
”George Bush set the US on the path to war in Iraq with a formal order signed in February 2002, more than a year before the invasion, according to a book published yesterday…
… Rumsfeld’s War is by Rowan Scarborough, the Pentagon correspondent for the conservative Washington Times newspaper, which is known for its contacts in the defence department’s civilian leadership.
“On February 16 2002, Bush signed a secret national security council directive establishing the goals and objectives for going to war with Iraq, according to classified documents I obtained,” Mr Scarborough wrote, in an account of the “global war on terrorism” as seen from the office of Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary.
The next month, he writes, the head of central command, General Tommy Franks, conducted a “major Iraq war exercise code-named “Prominent Hammer”, and in April he briefed the joint chiefs of staff on the invasion plan…”
The Militarisation Of US Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy in Focus
is Mel Goodman’s summary of his forthcoming book with Craig Eisendrath – ‘
Bush League Diplomacy: How the Neoconservatives are putting the World at Risk
‘, (Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, March 2004). Some key points are excerpted below.
- The Defense Department has moved aggressively to eclipse the State Department as the major locus of U.S. foreign policy.
- In its campaign for war with Iraq, the Bush administration perpetuated the greatest misuse of intelligence in U.S. history.
- The current White House has initiated and escalated a worldwide and continuous war on terrorism that has increased everyone’s insecurity…
… Since the 2000 election, and particularly in the wake of the Afghan War and the buildup to the invasion of Iraq, diplomacy has been shamefully abused. Rather than using international law to deal with suspected terrorists captured during the Afghan War, the U.S. opted for its own military tribunals and the suspension of accepted judicial procedures. It ignored such institutions as the United Nations International Court of Justice, which could have provided legal procedures based on international law. And it rejected established judicial civil procedures that guarantee the rights of the accused, including the representation by an attorney, a speedy trial, and access to evidence and witnesses for defense. In conducting a campaign of deceit to justify the invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration created the greatest intelligence scandal in U.S. history.
With the invasion and occupation of Iraq, we have witnessed the end of the so-called post-cold war era and the escalation of a continuous, worldwide war on terrorism that has increased global insecurity. Nearly 150,000 American forces are occupying Iraq and Afghanistan, and the result is growing anarchy in both countries. President Bush has declared that the war against terrorism centers on Iraq. This has the ring of self-fulfilling prophecy, since Iraq had no terrorism problem the U.S. invasion. A growing number at home and abroad are concerned Washington will resort to the use of preemptive force again, perhaps against other so-called “axis of evil” members, North Korea or Iran, before this year’s election.
Reversing a trend that predicated the fall of the Soviet Union, the U.S. has increased its military budget to more than $400 billion and its intelligence budget to more than $40 billion. Current projections point to a defense budget of more than $500 billion before the end of the decade, with another $50 billion for the intelligence community. Led by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the Department of Defense has moved aggressively to eclipse the State Department as the major locus of U.S. foreign policy, arrogating management of the intelligence community, and abandoning bipartisan policies of arms control and disarmament crafted over the past four decades. Funding cuts have prompted the Department of State to close consulates around the world and assign personnel of the well-funded CIA to diplomatic and consular posts. Though current defense costs represent nearly 20% of Washington’s expenses, less than 1% of the federal budget is devoted to the needs of the State Department.
The misuse of sensitive information to justify the war against Iraq has precipitated the worst intelligence scandal in U.S. history, compromising the Bush administration’s integrity. As former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski argued, this intelligence failure has been “fueled by a demagogy that emphasizes worst-case scenarios, stimulates fear and induces a dichotomous view of world reality.”…
Problems with Current U.S. Policy
- The Bush administration’s Defense Department has exceeded all predecessors in appropriating control of intelligence and analysis.
- Washington’s current militarized foreign policy entails the abandonment of virtually the entire fabric of arms control agreements negotiated over the last 30 years.
- The White House has replaced multilateral agreements with a radical-and unilateral-doctrine of preemptive war and a lowed threshold for the use of nuclear weapons.
The Bush administration has placed the Pentagon atop the national security policy decisionmaking ladder, thus weakening the role of the State Department and other agencies dealing with foreign policy. As a result, the long-term security interests of the U.S. have been imperiled, weakening the international coalition against terrorism and compromising the pursuit of arms control and counter-proliferation. The actions of the administration have often not been discussed with congressional committees or debated in the foreign policy community, and many have reversed major tenets of American foreign policy involving multilateralism, collective security, and détente.
The militarization of the intelligence community has been particularly profound. Nearly 90 % of the $40 billion budget for intelligence activity is allocated to and monitored by the Pentagon, and more than 90 % of all intelligence personnel report to the Pentagon. The Pentagon controls the tasking, collection, and analysis of all satellite photography. Moreover, such key intelligence bodies as the National Security Agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (formerly the National Imagery and Mapping Agency), and the National Reconnaissance Office are designated as “combat support” agencies. This is exactly what President Harry S. Truman was trying to avoid in 1947 when he created the Central Intelligence Agency separate from the Pentagon, and made the CIA director of central intelligence as well.
Defense Secretary Rumsfeld has gone further than any other defense secretary to control intelligence collection and analysis. He created the position of undersecretary of defense for intelligence without vetting this move with the Senate intelligence committee. In preparing the case against Iraq, he created the Office of Special Plans, which collected specious intelligence and misused intelligence community collection to justify the war and to create a congressional consensus in favor of war. Rumsfeld’s moves received rubber stamp approval from the Senate Armed Forces Committee, undermining the oversight roles of the Senate and House intelligence committees.
Despite marked decline in the strategic threat to the U.S. since the collapse of the Berlin War in 1989, the Warsaw Pact in 1990, and the Soviet Union itself in 1991, military influence over national security policy has grown substantially, and congressional support for the Pentagon has never been greater. The influence of the military has led to the Senate’s defeat of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; the abrogation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM), the cornerstone of deterrence for 30 years; U.S. rejection of the International Criminal Court and the ban on the use of land mines; and the weakening of the bipartisan Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Act, which contributed to the demilitarization and denuclearization of the former Soviet Union. The only arms control treaty that the Bush administration has negotiated with Russia, the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty of May 2002, calls for no specific reductions before 2012, contains no provision for verification or monitoring, and allows missiles and warheads taken off the front line to be placed in storage rather than destroyed or dismantled. The treaty thus preempts any real disarmament agreement.
The doctrinal policies of the Bush administration have helped to make the international arena a more dangerous place. In his commencement address at West Point in June 2002, President Bush endorsed preemptive attacks, and several months later, the White House issued its National Security Strategy, which discarded the policy of détente and containment and endorsed preemptive or preventive military actions against states with which the U.S. is at peace. Ominously, the strategy report warned that the U.S. would “make no distinction between terrorists and those who knowingly harbor or provide aid to them.” The Pentagon’s Defense Planning Guidance and the Quadrennial Defense Review projected an indefinite future of continuous and worldwide war, endorsed the policy of regime change, and championed preemptive attack as the means for securing peace through international acceptance of U.S. hegemony. The Nuclear Posture Review of 2002 lowered the threshold for using nuclear weapons, and the 2003 defense bill eliminated restrictions on researching low-yield nuclear weapons and provided additional funds for research on high-yield nuclear bombs for use against deeply buried targets. To paraphrase Mark Twain, the U.S. has demonstrated over the past three years that “if the only tool in our toolbox is a hammer, then all of our problems will soon look like nails.”
Melvin A. Goodman is senior fellow at the Center for International Policy.
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